Tze-Wen Chung, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2014
For outstanding contributions to the effects of substrate physical and chemical structure on cell growth.

Groundbreaking Discovery: VGH–NYCU Research Team Successfully Uses Silk Fibroin to Convert Quiescent Cardiomyocytes to Pacemaker Cells

Via Nat'l Yang Ming Chiao Tung Univ. | December 22, 2021

More than 40,000 people in Taiwan have cardiac pacemaker implants. Scientists in Taiwan discovered a silk fibroin (SF) that converts quiescent cardiomyocytes into pacemaker cells that can beat on their own, thereby restoring the heart’s beating. This groundbreaking discovery was published in the renowned journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

The sinoatrial node fires at a normal rate of 60–100 beats per minute. The spontaneous electric current causes the heart muscle to contract and pump blood to the whole body. However, pacemaker cells may malfunction due to aging and produce irregular heartbeat. As a result, patients may develop sick sinus syndrome and atrioventricular block, resulting in weakness, breathing difficulties, fainting, and even sudden cardiac death. The prevalence of sudden cardiac death (SCD) is approximately 2 per 100,000 person-yr for young population; the percentage of SCD may be even higher among older adults for aged ≥ 65 years… Continue reading.